Launceston for two nights
Touch down in one of Australia’s oldest cities and head to Stillwater for lunch. Think Tasmanian Cape Grim Beef ragù, pappardelle pasta, gremolata crumb and parmesan.
Do the pre-dinner Taste.Walk.Talk tour. These guys do just as they say – they like to taste and wander with excellent banter in between. They’ll take you to lesser known spots – a bit like having a new local mate show you the town.
Tonight, stay in a sumptuous apartment at the Hatherley Birrell Collection. It’s the definition of elegance. Come nightfall, head out on a ghost tour, if you’re game?
Go to Waverley Woollen Mills on George Street. It’s Australia’s oldest woollen mill and quite the icon. Here, you’ll find the perfect picnic rug for Cataract Gorge. This urban playground is home to the world’s longest single span chairlift. Back in 1972 when the first feet dangled high over the gorge, this 457 metre ride was a hit and it still is today.
Next stop, the Design Centre. It’s a celebration of Tasmanian talent. Huon pine, delicate ceramics and bold craftsmanship find a home beside the city’s main park. A side table might just take your eye.
Next is the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, a museum all about visual art, natural sciences, design and history. There are two sites just a few minutes’ drive apart. The collection dates back to 1842.
Tamar Valley for two nights
Start your morning at Relbia Estate. This family-owned gem offers cool-climate wines with a certain complexity to them. Curious? Discover for yourself. Next stop is Josef Chromy’s Go Behind the Label Tour followed by lunch. This state-of-the-art winery is Josef’s life work. Their award-winning wine is the product of hand-picked fruit, processed within 48 hours of leaving the vine.
Start your morning at Relbia Estate. This family-owned gem offers cool-climate wines with a certain complexity to them. Discover for yourself. Next stop is Josef Chromy’s Go Behind the Label Tour followed by lunch. This state-of-the-art winery is Josef’s life work. Their award-winning wine is the product of hand-picked fruit, processed within 48 hours of leaving the vine.
Jansz and Pipers Brook are next on the list. Who can go past Jansz bubbles? Clover Hill Vineyard is one stunner of a cellar door, so add that to your list. With so many vineyards to explore, are you beginning to feel two weeks isn’t enough in these parts?
Tonight stay at Lost Farm at Bridport and indulge in a vinotherapy spa. That’s right, a combo of wine and spa – rather divine. Sit back and watch the golfers play on this spectacular course, rated among the top in Australia.
More Tamar Valley
Today, venture to the ‘West Side’ of the Tamar. You’ll find Beauty Point and Seahorse World. Did you know that it’s the male seahorse that gives birth? That’s worth chatting about over a wine. Go to Moores Hill. They’re the first off-the-grid vineyard around here and they also have a dog named Otto you must meet.
From the Tamar, drive to Ghost Rock Vineyard near Port Sorell. Young winemaker Justin has taken over the reins from his parents and hosts lots of events. They also do Sunday music sessions and offer food and wine workshops through Hundred Acres onsite. Overnight in Port Sorell.
Head to Devonport this morning in time for breakfast, get some yummy eggs and bacon into you at Drift Café. Connected to the Surf Club, this popular local haunt really delivers. Plus, the views out to the beach are a great way to begin the day. Take a stroll along the beach front then make your way up to Mersey Bluff and explore indigenous history and a striking red-striped lighthouse. Take a selfie in one of the ‘nooks’. It has to be done.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, spend some time at Providore Place, the city’s new ‘meeting place’ complete with a Sunday market. Be sure to eat with Ben Milbourne of Ben’s Menu notoriety (Channel 10) at his new restaurant, Charlotte Jack. Food scientist come distiller George is also in Providore Place with his Dasher + Fisher gin range at Southern Wild Distillery. His gins are named after alpine rivers and botanicals from his garden. You won’t want to rush away. Overnight in Devonport.
Time to hit the highway – but not for long. Who knew you’d find Belgian truffles near Latrobe. A sweet treat mid-morning isn’t such a bad thing. But don’t spoil your appetite – a long lunch is waiting to be had at The Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory just past Sassafras. This striking art deco building with high ceilings and large windows was once a greenhouse. Expect a variety of dishes made from seasonal produce and extensive wine list to match. If you love gin, this is your place to be. Try a tasting board of three Tassie gins to decide which one to have in your g&t.
A little further down the highway is Ashgrove Cheese. Watch cheese in the making at a factory surrounded by happy cows. The wasabi-infused variety should add heat to your morning. Not far up the road is Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Café. Stash a punnet of fresh chocolate-covered raspberries in the back for your drive to Hadspen. This will be home for two nights.
Make Red Feather Inn, just outside of Launceston, your base. There’s a host of classes on offer including the ever popular To Market To Market that begins with a visit to the Harvest Market before heading back to the Inn for a day of cooking. Most classes start at 9.30am or 10am, and run through until 3pm.
The onsite restaurant is open for dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings. It’s an inviting haven with thick walls, an extensive wine list and a seasonal menu mostly grown and raised at Red Feather Inn. The Garden Suite is heavenly.
Bicheno for two nights
Drop into Longford for a visit to Woolmers and Brickendon, two World Heritage-listed colonial estates. From here, take the A4 and C301 on to Bicheno. On the way, stop at Hardings Falls to stretch those legs on a short walk.
On arrival into Bicheno the countdown begins – the countdown for your welcoming party that is. Hop on the Bicheno Penguin Tours website to find out when little penguins will appear. Make sure you wear closed-toe shoes – the penguins have been known to give a friendly nip!
Bicheno day two
Fuel up at The Farm Shed in Bicheno and drive to Freycinet for a walk to Wineglass Bay. Spectacular in summer or winter, walk up to the look out. Those feeling energetic will appreciate the chilled clean sand under bare feet on a wander down at beach level. You might even meet the curious wallaby who often likes to go for a beach hop. Another way to get here is with the Aqua Taxi. They can take you to Hazards Beach, delivering an easy flat walk into Wineglass Bay. Indulge in fresh oysters, mussels or abalone at Freycinet Marine Farm afterwards.
Bicheno day two
On to Orford. The joy of this journey is the vineyards dotted along the way. First on the drive is Milton then Spring Vale. Don’t miss rustic Gala Estate and Craigie Knowe. Devil’s Corner is a great spot for lunch with sweeping views from the lookout. Swing by Freycinet Vineyard and Overtime to pick up some wine for later. You are spoilt for choice – pick and choose or stop at all of them if you like.
On the way, break up the drive with a 2.6 km walk by the water, departing from near the Swansea jetty. The walk follows the headland and features a mutton bird rookery. Further on from Swansea, don’t miss the Spiky Bridge and maybe add one more vineyard to the mix – Darlington. Overnight, book into heritage accommodation at Brockley Estate at Buckland.
More food and wine today. Head towards Richmond via the C350. Take a detour for a touch of elegance and venture to Pooley Wines. You’ll get delicious wine and elevated views over Richmond. Stop for a picnic by the river at Richmond and visit the cemetery of Australia’s oldest Catholic Church, just up on the hill. The bridge is Australia’s oldest too – so is the gaol.
The Coal River Valley vineyards are a plenty. Puddleduck, Frogmore Creek and the Coal Valley Vineyard to name just some. Roll into Hobart tonight.
This morning head out to Mona, David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art. Wander the museum, have a crisp sparkling in the Void bar underground. Don’t spend too much time down there, the Ether Building awaits. This is where they encourage you to ‘quaff Moorilla wine’. There’s a long winemaking history on this little peninsula that’s worth finding out about.
Spend the entire day at Mona and be the envy of your friends by dining in Mona’s new restaurant Faro. It’s in the Pharos Wing (don’t ask!). Then again, time your trip to collide with the Golden Hour. It’s communal dining with an outdoor element. You’ll never see the sky so oddly colourful.
From Hobart a trip down the Derwent Valley rewards with more wine. Begin with Derwent Estate then Stefano Lubiana just up the road. Stefano, or Steve if you like, is a fifth generation winemaker so he knows his stuff. Stay for lunch or continue on to the Agrarian Kitchen Eatery & Storee in New Norfolk. That said, you may choose to spend the entire day with Rodney Dunn at his acclaimed cooking school in Lachlan. He might even have you milk the goat as part of dessert.
There’s all sorts of curious in New Norfolk. There’s antiques to sift through in a former mental asylum, and on the main street, Fly Wheel is a lovely store committed to good-old letter writing. Step in and get all old-fashioned – someone will enjoy receiving a letter printed using an old printing press and lead type. Overnight in New Norfolk at Woodbridge on the Derwent.
Head back to Hobart for your last night and make your way up 1,271 metres, to the peak of kunanyi/Mount Wellington. The view is breathtaking.
Here on a Saturday? Pick up a hand-crafted gin at Salamanca Market, the country’s largest outdoor market and Tasmania’s most popular attraction.
Before you leave the island, make sure to stop in at Barilla Bay and have your last taste of Tassie oysters before catching your flight home. You might fit in a glass of bubbles, too.